03 June 1998

In the inquest into the death of remand prisoner Alton Manning, which concluded on 25th March 1998 at Worcester and Dudley Coroner’s Court (sitting at Kiddermister Town Hall), the jury reached a unanimous verdict of Unlawful Killing.

“Evidence that emerged at this inquest established that Alton Manning died a brutal, inhuman & violent death as a direct result of a neckhold unlawfully applied by a senior prison officer at HMP Blakenhurst. This death revealed an alarming failure at both individual and management level within Blakenhurst, and within the Prison Service as a whole, in respect of lesson that ought to have learnt from previous violent deaths in prison."

"This inquest exposed a catalogue of lies and evasions by officers and management at HMP Blakenhurst and lawyers acting for UK Detention Services Ltd., in an attempt to cover up their responsibility for this death. The jury’s verdict demands a close scrutiny and examination of the case by the Crown Prosecution Service with a view to instituting criminal proceedings against the officers responsible for the death."

"The family and friends of Alton Manning will be watching the CPS to ensure that justice is seen to be done. The comments made by Richard Tilt in relation to this death were false and inherently racist with not a shred of scientific evidence to support them. We view this as yet another attempt to blame the victim and deflect attention away from what the key issues are in relation to the disproportionate numbers of Black people dying in custody; the extent of force and violence used; the nature of the training prison officers receive and the institutionalised racism within the prison system as whole.”